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Summary: Even when we are not great orators, it is no bad thing to own the good news concerning Jesus Christ as a valid subject for conversation.

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PECULIAR PILGRIMS

1 Peter 2:1-12

Jesus told His disciples, ‘You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8).

When persecution broke out after the martyrdom of Stephen, the church was dispersed throughout Judea and Samaria, the apostles alone remaining in Jerusalem. Everywhere the believers went they preached the word: they gossiped the gospel (Acts 8:1-4). Even when we are not great orators, it is no bad thing to own the good news concerning Jesus Christ as a valid subject for conversation.

After Peter's vision concerning the extension of the gospel to the Gentiles, it was found that the scattered flock had already reached as far as Antioch (Acts 11:19). Later still, despite Paul and Silas initially being prevented from entering Asia and Bithynia (Acts 16:6-7), Peter was able to include these two regions in his greeting to the ‘pilgrims of the dispersion’ (1 Peter 1:1).

Peter's first letter is addressed to those who have been born again to a living hope of a heavenly inheritance based in Jesus' resurrection (1 Peter 1:3-4). These are those who love Jesus, who believe in Jesus, and rejoice “with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).

Based on this love of Christ, the Apostle exhorts his Christian readers to make sure our hope is securely anchored in the grace of God; not to be conformed to our old way of life with its worldly lust and ignorance; but rather to ‘be holy, for God is holy’ (1 Peter 1:13-16).

The author applauds the brotherly love demonstrated by the churches to whom he is writing, and further exhorts them to ‘love one another fervently with a pure heart’ (1 Peter 1:22).

“Therefore” - in order for love to operate - lay aside those things that mar fellowship (1 Peter 2:1).

Malice is ill-will, and the desire to hurt others. It must have no place in the community of love.

Guile is a baited line set to mislead us. It is a cunning deceit that lies, distorts the truth, and impairs our ability to share a reciprocal love one with another.

Hypocrisies refers to play-acting, a game of pretence, making an outward show without inward sincerity; feigning to be what one is not, hiding our real character in a veneer of religiosity. It is impossible to maintain the fellowship of love if we are not honest with one another!

Envies arise out of jealous longings after another's position, or wealth, or gifts. Envy gives rise to resentment. Love, on the other hand, does not envy (1 Corinthians 13:4).

Evil speaking here refers to the slanders which talk negatively and maliciously of others. It seeks to undermine, and stands opposite to the love which builds up.

It is time to grow up from such things, Peter instructs the new-born babes in Christ. Let's get back to basics. Let's get back to “the pure milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:2). The “milk” of the word is pure, without guile, without deceit.

It is wrong to water down the word of God. After all, it is through the word that we were born again (1 Peter 1:23). Our desire must be set towards receiving our spiritual nourishment from the same word. This is an imperative for life and growth.


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